“We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA.
Historically and traditionally, the Jews originally celebrated the feast of Pentecost on the 50th day after the Passover feast. This was a post-harvest thanksgiving feast in remembrance of God’s covenant with Noah after the Flood and Moses at Mount Sinai. It was a feast of the chosen people.
Christians celebrate Pentecost to commemorate the anniversary of the descent (outpouring) of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples, including His mother, Mary, in the upper room. This falls on the 50th day after the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Liturgically, this feast marks the end and the goal of the Easter season. The Paschal Mystery (passion, death, resurrection & ascension of Jesus Christ) culminates in the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father on the disciples.
Ecclesiologically, Pentecost commemorates the official inauguration of the Christian church with the apostolic preaching of St. Peter. This resulted in the conversion of 3,000 Jews to the Christian faith. We celebrate the official birthday of the Church today!
The first reading gives an account of the event of the Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit as fiery tongues - a bizarre circumstance that led to the transformation of the frightened apostles into fiery preachers and evangelizers as they were given the gift of tongues. Neophytes (new converts) experienced fresh anointing as they also received the Holy Spirit. It consequently inspirited the early Christians to become powerful and fearless witnesses and brave martyrs for their faith in Jesus.
Every Christian is therefore encouraged to be open and make themselves available for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Just cooperate with the prompting of the Holy Spirit to "renew the face of the earth." The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind your vocation as a Christian. There is nothing you can do without it.
The Apostle Paul in the second reading explains how sharing the various spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit enriches the Church and enlightens us with the truth that these varieties of the gifts are for the common good. It is for complementarity and for fraternal solidarity. Operate with your gift in the Church to support one another. It is not for scattering but for gathering!
Finally, in our gospel reading, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit unto His disciples to empower them to be up to the task of continuing His mission. He gave them the authority to forgive or not to forgive. Meaning, through the sacraments we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the good news and to evangelize people. We also have the obligation to allow reconciliation, when it's needful. As a Christian, permit the Holy Spirit to drive your life and your life will never be the same. Don't resist the Holy Spirit!
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Let the Spirit lead...
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.